En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 22, 2011

From: Arlington, VA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Arlington, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am looking for a tall-growing tree/shrub to act as a privacy screen with neighbors on two existing borders, including, e.g., blocking out the neighbors tall swing set gym, deck, and other activity, which is only 10 feet from the back of our house. Due to the very small amount of yard space, I am looking for something that grows upright and is not wide.

ANSWER:

You don’t mention your growth conditions or whether there is a fence on not, so let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database that can help with finding plants for particular situations. One way of using the Database is to go to the Recommended Species Lists. Click on View Recommended Species Page, and then click on Virginia on the map. This will bring up 122 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Virginia. This is more information than you need, so go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the window and make the following selections: select Virginia under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration.  Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to 30. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has plant characteristics, growth requirements and photos. These can help you select plants whose growth requirements fit your growing situation.

You can control the height and width of your screen with careful pruning.

Another approach is to plant an evergreen vine on trellises. This time, use the Combination Search Box on the Native Plant Database page. It works similarly, so make the same selections as before, except select Vine instead of Shrub under habit, and click on the Submit Combination Search button. This brings up a list of 63 native species to choose from.

For help closer to home, you can contact the folks at the Arlington County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
April 30, 2013 - I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if t...
view the full question and answer

Screening plants for Alaska
March 28, 2009 - Just purchased a house and want more privacy along the fence lines. Which plants would work well in the cold environment but provide privacy without taking over the yard.
view the full question and answer

Native Texas shrub for privacy screen in hot area
August 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a lot facing dead west which I'm sure you can understand is brutally hot in the summer. I'm putting in a pool in my backyard and would like to plant a native Texas...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a barrier in Ft. Worth TX
February 22, 2014 - Hello, I'm looking for a natural barrier as an alternative to a fence in my backyard. I see several other questions answered relating to this but I'm looking for something specifically as a nativ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for screen
March 20, 2013 - We have pretty much "dead" red-tipped photinia bushes and old pine trees that have seen better days, on a steep hillside. We need to remove and replace with a more natural setting, with some terraci...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center